by StarWarrior (Rie)

"It's not too deep," Xena said, "but you'll get another scar for your collection." She finished bandaging it, then lifted her head. "I think you have almost as many as..." Her words stopped as their gazes collided. She shuddered and looked away, frightened by the awe she saw in her friend's eyes. 'If only she loved me instead of this idolization.'

Gabrielle smiled. Xena was so afraid whenever she got hurt. The young woman turned to look at her warrior friend, finding comfort from her normal, untidy, long, dark, hair, those sparkling blue eyes, and the leather armor. She gave a rueful smile. "I'm okay. Really I am." She squeezed her friend's hand. Her green eyes were shadowed, her face pale beneath the golden tan.

Xena just sat silently holding her hand staring into her face, as though frightened that she'd disappear.

"Xena! Say something. Anything please!" Gabrielle begged. The warrior princess was scaring her.

Xena's eyes darkened, her grip tightened. 'Gabrielle was still so innocent. How could she possibly understand the torment she'd put her through? Or exactly what I need from her.' She let out a ragged breath. "Words as you know, don't come easy for me." She began. "But I'll try. Just be patient with me." She took a deep breath, releasing it slowly, wet her lips, and spoke. "I thought I'd lost you - forever...and in that moment I realized something," A sob caught in her throat, "I don't want to live without you." She swallowed hard and held up her free hand, "No, don't say a word. Just let me finish." She paused trying to stave off the rejection she was sure was coming. Xena licked her lips nervously, knowing she couldn't put this moment off any longer, and also knowing that it could be the end of their friendship. She gathered her courage and looked earnestly into Gabrielle's sea-green eyes.

Gabrielle smiled encouragingly.

"I love you." Now the words came out in a long rush. "Not as a friend or a sister, but as in I am in love with you." The glaze of passion shone brightly in Xena's eyes and she held Gabrielle captive with them for but a few seconds, before lowering her eyes and waiting for the withdrawal she was positive would come. Her young friend had never shown any interest in any of the females they'd come across. Not even when she was made an Amazon princess and a good half dozen of them panted for her. 'I wonder if she even knows that women can love one another in that way?'

Gabrielle shuddered with the intensity of her reaction at the look in Xena's eyes and her words - the very words she'd dreamt for so long. She sat still, watching the different emotions flickering across the warrior's face as moments turned into minutes her amazement at Xena's words had left her momentarily speechless. "My almost dying is what it took for you to finally tell me the truth." Gabrielle's smile dazzled the warrior woman. "My love. I've known forever that I've loved you." Her eyes danced happily. "But you always treated me as a child - I never dared hope - I was content to love you from a distance." Her smile dimmed. "I've lived in constant fear that you would one day tire of me and send me packing."

Xena looked at Gabrielle with tortured eyes, not believing her ears, a pulse beating erratically in her hard cheek. "You were so young, so innocent. Every man we encounter springs to your defense - and you were always on about how cute this one was or that one..." her voice trailed off, but picked up again, before Gabrielle could rise to her own defense. "A dozen or more women longed for your touch." She smiled sadly, "Yet you never reacted to any of them. Never gave me a clue." Gently she caressed Gabrielle's jaw, her smile brightening at the pulse that quickened beneath her questing fingers.

The younger woman shrugged. "It seemed easier to pretend to misunderstand their intentions." She caught Xena's eyes and smiled softly. "Playing the naive fool helped keep me - and I think them
safe." Xena grinned in acknowledgment. Gabrielle continued talking. "I've always known what I felt for you." Her eyes darkened with passion as she released the emotions she'd held in check for two years. "I fell in love with you when I first laid eyes upon you." She closed her eyes and thought back to that moment. "You stood defiant in your dirty white shift, mud on your face, your hair a tangled mess, and the most incredible eyes I have ever seen. You stopped that whip and I thought I have never seen anyone more beautiful in my entire life, and then you looked at me from across the glade and I felt a connection deep in my heart. I knew then that I'd follow you to the end of the world." She finished speaking and opened her eyes to stare straight into Xena's.

Xena's eyes held Gabrielle's eyes mesmerized as she slowly lowered her head, her mouth taking fierce possession of hers. Gabrielle's mouth opened invitingly beneath the warrior's, her arms going up about Xena's neck as she pressed herself against the older woman. Xena pulled back to catch her breath and Gabrielle mewed a compliant.

Xena quickly pulled the bard back to her. Her lips touched gently, soft and moist, undemanding as she put all her heart into this one moment. Words were never her strong point and she needed to be sure the younger woman understood just how deep her love ran.

Gabrielle sighed into Xena's ear. Her heart beat so loud she was sure it would jump out of her chest at any moment. "I love you." She whispered the words.

Xena trembled as her bard's words penetrated her eardrums. Her arms wrapped around the younger woman pulling her into a closer embrace. Her lips sought out Gabrielle's again, passion sparking a deep burning down to her very center.

Gabrielle snuggled in closer. Her breath quickened. She rubbed her hands along Xena's back, shivering in delight at the way her back arched as the warrior moved her hands down to clasp her bottom.

The pressure of Xena's mouth increased and her lips bit softly at Gabrielle's as if coaxing her to open to Xena. She did, allowing the warrior woman to enter her mouth - her tongue - a strong questing muscle moved moistly against hers and the bard strained closer.

As the kiss continued Xena's hand came up between their bodies to cover the high swell of her breast. Gabrielle gave a murmur of delight. Xena ran her fingertips across the peak of the burgeoning nipple again and again.

A shudder ran through Gabrielle, and then as if in answer to an unspoken request Xena's fingers were tugging at her nipple, bringing it to a hardness which was a pleasure-pain. Gabrielle felt a violent spasm between her thighs. She gasped. Her whole body was a mass of tingling nerves and a need was surging inside her.

Xena gathered the smaller woman into her arms and gently carried her to their blankets. Lowering herself with the bard still in her arms onto the blanket, bestowing small kisses as they went. Slowly she removed Gabrielle's top freeing her breasts only to trap first one and then the other in her hands and in her mouth. Grasping and twisting the nipples, sucking the left and then the right. Her head darting between the two as though they were a delicacy that she couldn't get enough of. She ran her fingers across the top of the bards lips, teasing the corner as she studied the fullness of Gabrielle's lips Her fingers moved up and gently traced the curve of her eyebrow as if she'd never examined one up close before. She smiled as the younger woman trembled beneath her touch and lowered her head for another juicy kiss.

She slid her hand's down the bard's sides frowning as she encountered the small skirt. She lifted herself off the small woman and slid her hands into the top of the skirt. Slowly she eased it down past the girl's golden hips, removing her undergarment at the same time. Her passion threatening to spin out of control as she caught a glimpse of the golden mound that lay underneath. Her breath quickened. A soft, fast heat began to flicker inside her. Xena groaned.

Xena laid back down careful to place most of her weight on her elbows. She leaned in to kiss Gabrielle, who lifted her head to meet the warrior. Breathlessly she murmured words of endearment into the younger woman's mouth. Xena let her lips move to her cheek, nibbling as she went and making small comments about the gorgeous woman she was touching and how incredibly lucky she was that Gabrielle was hers.

Gabrielle tried to control her trembling. "Xena." She whispered the name lovingly and tightened her hold on the older woman. A spasm of heat shot through her body. "You're so beautiful." She murmured, pressing tiny kisses up the side of her neck. "I want to see your body." She tugged at the armor.

Xena grinned "Help me." She whispered, dragging Gabrielle into a sitting position. The bard grinned. "My pleasure."

Xena rose to her feet pulling Gabrielle up with her. The strawberry blonde began removing Xena's armor kissing each section of bared skin as she dropped the armor piece by piece to the ground. Before long both women stood before one another naked.

Gabrielle's gaze trailed across the width of Xena's shoulders and her well-toned chest. Her eyes moved lower, down over the flat plane of the warrior's belly, to her hips until they rested on the dark curly, triangular patch of hair at her center. As though possessed of a mind of it's own Gabrielle's hand raced to follow where her eyes led.

Xena moaned with delight and fell to her knees dragging the bard with her. Gabrielle pushed on Xena's shoulders causing the warrior woman to roll backwards onto the blankets. Gabrielle moaned as she pressed her lips against Xena's neck and nibbled her way down. She caressed her again and again. She caressed the hollow of her throat, the curve of her shoulder, the valley between her breasts. She caressed the rosy nipples, and the flat smoothness of her stomach. She circled her thumbs around Xena's nipples until the woman moaned with delight and flipped her underneath.

Xena looked down upon the lithe form trapped beneath her. Gabrielle stared up into her blazing blue eyes and saw the blistering desire that could no longer be denied. Heat zoomed into her cheeks and the quivering within deepened. She arched her hips and spread her legs. Xena's thigh slipped between them, rubbing against Gabrielle's hot center.

Gabrielle gasped and sighed and moaned with pleasure, inciting Xena to taste more of the young woman. She pressed kisses down over her flat stomach, pausing only long enough to open the bards legs wider before claiming her hot throbbing center with her mouth. Xena alternated between sucking and lapping at the bard's sex with her tongue.

Gabrielle writhed in joy beneath the warrior. She clasped Xena's sides, digging her nails into the warrior in ecstasy as Xena continued her assault on her senses. Until she screamed with joy and shivered uncontrollably clutching at her new lover, eyes widening in joyous pleasure as she came in a rush. Xena repositioned herself so her wet center was pressed against Gabrielle's leg. She rained kisses down upon the bards face and chest as she started rocking back and forth bringing about her release within seconds of Gabrielle's.

The two women lay curled in each other's arms spent and content to drift off into dreamland.

Gabrielle smiled as an arm curled possessively about her waist, drawing her back into the curve of a hard body, and lips nuzzled at her throat. She turned in the half-light of morning to find Xena's dark head resting next to hers. "Xena." She whispered and softly caressed the tan cheek. Her only answer was to move closer to her, the arm tightening about her waist, while the other arm slowly began moving over the curve of her breast.

"Oh, no you don't." She laughed. "You aren't going to get to have all the fun." She grinned at her lover as her fingers trailed slowly down Xena's neck to the small hollow at the base of her throat, where an out-of-control pulse fluttered. She lowered her head and licked then kissed the pulse causing it to jump even more erratically. Her hand continued it's downward journey. Cupping a soft round breast, rolling a nipple and drawing little circles around the aureole before lowering her head to suck on the rapidly hardening nipple. Her hand still moving, spreading over the firm abs stilling for a moment to enjoy the feel of the rippling muscles beneath them before continuing down to the moist center. She smiled as she felt how wet Xena was. "Good morning." She murmured into the warrior's ear as she nibbled at her neck and plunged two of her fingers into the woman.

Xena moaned. "The best of mornings." She managed to gasp as the bard began sliding her fingers in and almost out, over and over. Xena groaned and clutched at the bard, who managed to slip out of her grasp.

"No," she laughed as she lowered herself, tapping at her lovers legs to get her to open wider. She ducked her head in-between Xena's legs and blew gently. The light breeze causing the warrior to arch her hips and moan. Gabrielle placed her mouth alongside her fingers and licked at the entrance, enjoying the moans and the throbbing that came from herself. Quickly she stuck her tongue in as deep as she could and licked at the juices she caught. She sucked at the hard nub and Xena groaned in response. Lifting her head she thrust her fingers back in and moving herself up onto Xena's leg she began rocking back and forth in rhythm with her own fingers. Together this time the two women screamed their release and Gabrielle collapsed worn on top of her lover.

Xena quickly drew her arms around the little woman and cupped her to her. "Just this once I think we won't be moving on today." She murmured lazily into the strawberry blonde hair. Before she joined the woman in sleep.

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